Pulmonary hypertension

Pulmonary hypertension is a type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries in the lungs and the right side of your heart.

Pulmonary hypertension begins when tiny arteries in your lungs, called pulmonary arteries, and capillaries become narrowed, blocked or destroyed. This makes it harder for blood to flow through your lungs, and raises pressure within your lungs' arteries. As the pressure builds, your heart's lower right chamber (right ventricle) must work harder to pump blood through your lungs, eventually causing your heart muscle to weaken and eventually fail.

Pulmonary hypertension is a serious illness that becomes progressively worse and is sometimes fatal. Although pulmonary hypertension isn't curable, treatments are available that can help lessen symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications

The signs and symptoms of pulmonary hypertension in its early stages may not be noticeable for months or even years. As the disease progresses, symptoms become worse.

Pulmonary hypertension symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea), initially while exercising and eventually while at rest
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness or fainting spells (syncope)
  • Chest pressure or pain
  • Swelling (edema) in your ankles, legs and eventually in your abdomen (ascites)
  • Bluish color to your lips and skin (cyanosis)
  • Racing pulse or heart palpitations

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